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PORTAL PARTNER PRESS - 2000

November 06, 2001

From: Robert Massa

Sent: Tuesday, November 06, 2001 4:02 PM 

Subject: Portal Partner Press 11-06-01

The Portal Partner Press is sent each week for the education and entertainment of the people who own and operate a SearchKing hosted portal. It is intended to help you learn to better operate, maintain and market your own portal. Anytime you have a question about any item in an issue of the PPP, please visit our forums at http://forums.searchking.com and feel free to ask any questions or post any comments about your portal, about SearchKing or about internet marketing in general. .


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IN THIS ISSUE
Who Are Your Customers 

Portal Hosting Changes Coming Soon
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WHO ARE YOUR CUSTOMERS

I've been spending a lot of time reading every marketing book I can get my hands on focusing on targeting specific markets over the last few weeks. It's not so easy. Most of the books I've been getting are textbooks and of course that means they have to write them assuming you have a year to learn it all. The one that I'm on now is a good example. Barron's Marketing, third edition, by Richard Sandhusen. This is a little 550 page lite reader that could put a speed freak to sleep. .

Talk about belaboring a point. Sheesh! .

This is my third such lite reader in about a month and while most of these books leave me with more questions than answers, one thing is becoming abundantly clear. It's not as complicated as all these text books make it seem. It is true that marketing is certainly a skill and the more you learn about it, the better, but for people like us, common sense is going to teach us just about as much as reading all the text books. Common sense and the discussing and sharing of ideas is going to do the job for the vast majority of us. .

OK, let's talk a little about who your customers are. This all relates to the planning things we've been discussing for the last two or three months. In the initial planning stages, you know, when you're setting your goals and strategies, you should have made some attempt at identifying your market. At the very least, you should have narrowed it down to people who live in your hometown, or people who like to scuba dive, etc. Now, when you did that you identified a market segment. A market segment is a group of people who, for whatever reasons, share some common wants, needs or desires. Your job, to effectively get what you want from your market segment, is to identify these wants, needs and desires and then address them. .

The simple conclusion I've made after all this reading is to know who your customers are, know what they want and then say what they want to hear. .

I'll give you a couple of examples. Let's say that you have a local portal. What is a hot topic in your town? Crime? Traffic? The school system? The new mall that's being planned? Your local news on TV, your local newspaper editorials, billboards, PTA newsletters and the topic of conversation at the donut shop are all excellent sources of information that tells you what that target market, (people in your hometown), share in common. Address these issues and you will be saying what they want to hear. .

Now, you can break that down even further by placing the people in your hometown into even smaller groups. Such as your hometown seniors. Your hometown kids. Your hometown parents. You can take this as far as you want to go. Now all you have to do to sell the same product or service to all these different groups is simply put up a page or specific section of your site that says exactly what that group wants to hear. The key here is that each group is going to have a little different twist. Food is a good example. Every person in your hometown buys food, but senior citizens have different needs than young parents for example. Your job is to say what each group wants to hear. .

Another way of saying "what they want to hear" is, what benefits are they looking for. A senior citizen is not going to respond very well to a benefit like: .

Buying our food gives you more hang time on your skateboard.
The same as a 17-year-old skateboarder isn't going to respond very well to: Our food can help keep you regular. .

The point is that you can have one portal that appeals to a lot of market segments. Just use different pages and different sections of your site to present benefits that will appeal to that specific group. .

One important thing I want to mention. Ideally, one site for one target market is the best approach. That is the easiest way to establish yourself as a true resource for that market. The challenge only comes if you are planning on making your revenue ad based. Ad based portals need traffic and the smaller your market, the less potential traffic. The trick is in finding two things. #1 alternate income sources besides ads, #2 generating higher income from your ads due to a highly targeted market. Figure out #1 AND #2 and you have it made. .

PORTAL HOSTING CHANGES COMING SOON

I've had it! The free portals continue to cause more grief and cost more money than they are worth. I'm tired of the spam. I'm tired of the wasted efforts in setting them up only to have no one ever even go to the admin panel. I'm tired of the bogus submissions. I'm tired of our affiliates not getting paid and I'm tired of giving the wrong impression that a tool this powerful isn't worth anything. .

Has anyone noticed the continuing trend towards localization? Google is offering local searches. Even smaller players like Big what are using what they call map searches. Forum discussions are turning more and more to local discussions. Folks, I guarantee you local internet is coming and soon. It is becoming more important every day as more and more sites struggle to find ways to include it. SearchKing has been on the leading edge of these discussions for a long time now and the best way I know of to capture a local market is with an SK portal. They have value and will have more value tomorrow than they have today. .

We are in the planning stages now of how to stop the free portal pluses. If you have been thinking of adding a portal plus or upgrading your portals, I urge you to do it pretty soon. .

I don't have a definite timetable yet, but the changes are coming and they're coming very quickly. As usual, we'll keep you posted. .

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Have a great week! 

See ya' next week.

Publisher -- Bob Massa 
bobking@searchking.com
Powered by SearchKing!

November 19, 2001

From: Robert Massa

Sent: Monday, November 19, 2001 1:01 PM 

Subject: Portal Partner Press 11-19-01
Portal Partner Press
November 19th, 2001
IN THIS ISSUE:
  • A Terrible Week of Tragedy is Behind Us Now
  • Portal Partner Point of View on Planning
  • The Trouble With Planning Continued
  • Giving You Customers What They Want

A TERRIBLE WEEK OF TRAGEDY IS BEHIND US NOW

Actually, this past week's tragedy will likely never be behind us. The kind of tragedy that we have all lived through since September the 11th, 2001, is the kind of tragedy that will haunt the entire world for a long time to come. But the fact remains, we did live through it. We are still here and the only real question is how are we going to deal with it. .

I have no intention of using this space to write a personal editorial of just how I see the effects and implications of these terrible events. There are plenty of people in the world doing that already and if you need to read another talking head's opinion, you don't have to look very hard to find one. The only thing I feel that is important enough for me to discuss, is how I plan to deal with it. .

  • I intend to remember that it is the actions of a very few that has caused so much grief.
  • I intend to support those who have lost so much.
  • I intend to remember that I am one of the very lucky ones.
  • I intend to remember that there are those in the world who make a living form making something bad even worse. I call them "Merchants of Chaos".
  • I intend to think for myself.
  • I intend to look for justice and not revenge.
  • I intend to continue believing that mankind is basically good.
  • I intend to remember that I have friends, relatives and customers all over the world of every nationality, religion and race.
  • I intend to remember that I have a responsibility to myself, my family, my partners and the world to run my business to the best of my ability.
  • I intent to remember that I have a job to do and one of the best things I can do, is get back to doing it.

May God bless and keep you all.

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PORTAL PARTNER POINT OF VIEW ON PLANNING

My personal thanks to Lynne Scott
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Confession of a Compulsive Planner

I admit it. I'm a compulsive planner. I break into a sweat at the mere thought of not having my work planned for months ahead. I crave order. Maybe it's the teacher in me, but I actually have a need to sit down at the end of the day, write out what I'm going to do tomorrow, and see how it fits into the longer range planning I've been doing. I'm getting better, but I still live by "plan your work, and work your plan." .

Of course, there have been exceptions. When I was teaching, some of my most successful lessons were "off the cuff", which means I fell asleep before I got my day book finished, so I had to "wing it" in class the next day. I used to have nightmares about standing in front of a group of 6th graders with nothing planned (I realize that you have to experience that particular horror to understand it, but, trust me, it's not a pretty sight), so I'd put in hundred hour work weeks just to be sure that every minute of every class was totally planned. .

Then the unthinkable would happen. The long hours would catch up with me, I'd crash as soon as I got home from school, and be totally unprepared for my classes the next day. Sometimes I'd flop miserably, others I'd give the lesson of a lifetime, and I never knew which it was going to be, or why. Now I do. .

In those days, I'd spend my summers planning teaching units to be used throughout the school year. If I were to compare those to business planning, they'd have to be pretty much equal to mid-range goals. The long range goal (objective) was always the same -- to have all of my students pass into the next grade. Units gave me specific chunks of knowledge that had to be poured into little brains in a specific time period. Each unit was broken into lessons that had specific objectives. The actual lesson plans weren't written until the day before they were to be taught, but the general concept of each lesson was included in the unit plan. .

So how come some of my winged lessons succeeded, and others failed? It took me a long time to figure that out, but it all goes back to those unit plans. Remember, the long range goal was clearly defined. I wanted all of my students to pass into the next grade. The mid- range goals (units) were pretty clearly defined, as were the concepts for the short term goals (lessons). The only thing that was fuzzy was the actual lesson, because it had to be planned just before it was taught. After a LOT of puzzling over my unplanned successes and failures, I started looking at the circumstances that surrounded them. .

Almost every unplanned lesson that flopped happened in a unit that was rigidly planned, and left no room for the unexpected, whether good or bad. I had left myself no opportunity to use the things that were happening around me to the advantage of my students. Almost all of the unplanned successes happened in units that were less rigidly constructed. They still had measurable objectives, and specific chunks of wisdom that had to be imparted, but the paths to the objectives weren't carved in stone. I had the flexibility to use current events, or little whoopsies to move the unit along. If I arrived at school unprepared, I could use what had happened in the last lesson as a starting point for that day's work. .

The day I realized that was the day that my business planning started to get more effective. Up to that point I was solidly locked into my plans. I never let myself get sidetracked. I ignored opportunities that didn't "fit" my plans. Realizing that plans don't have to be carved in stone in order to be effective gave me the flexibility to accept the great business building opportunity of my first portal, and incorporate a new set of skills into my repertoire. It has also given me a whole new, international customer base, and wonderful new group of friends. .

Don't get me wrong. I still do long range planning. I still set mid-range goals. I still make a "day plan" and check that it fits into my long range plans, it's just not as detailed as it used to be. I've just come to accept that short term planning has to be flexible. It has to allow for the unexpected -- good or bad. And that's fine with me. .

*************

Lynne Scott
Graphic Design Portal http://graphicdesign.searchking.com
Eye on Winnipeg http://www.eyeonwinnipeg.com

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THE TROUBLE WITH PLANNING CONTINUED

Our planning discussion this last week in the forums has not been very active. That's undrstandable in light of the current events. But it's time to get back to work. .

I have a feeling that many of you reading this are still having some troubles taking the first step, which is to write down your goal. I understand. It's not often easy to make that commitment. .

On the other hand, it's not very hard. .

I have a little trick I use on people, (including myself), from time to time to help them make decisions. I've never tried using it in print, but I see no reason why it wouldn't work. So, I would like to help you right now get past the problem of writing down your goals. Once that is done, you'll see the whole planning thing much clearer and much easier. .

The hardest part of this whole process for me, was in taking the first step. Writing down what I really wanted. Once I finally got that done, the rest became fun, even exciting. Seeing the plans actually come to life is a powerful thing and if you don't take that first step, you'll never be able to see it. I want you to be able to see it and I understand what some of you are feeling now. I honestly think I can help. .

You need to get a pencil and a piece of paper and put it where you can quickly and easily get to it. That's not hard is it? Well, then go and do it now. .

Let's learn something new and we'll come back to this a little later and with any luck, by the time you finish reading this issue, you, and your business will be taking a whole new direction. A better direction that will put YOU in control.
 .

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GIVING YOUR CUSTOMERS WHAT THEY WANT

One of the reasons that the planning process seems so hard to some of us, is that it looks like it involves a lot more than we are capable of doing. All the books you read on the subject cover a wide variety of factors that upon first glance, it just feels like there is now way we have the resources to answer all the questions that look like have to be answered before we get started. So naturally, the obvious answer is not to start. .

The fact is, (and I'm living proof), that all those factors need to be answered before you FINISH, not before you START, and the trick to this little problem is that you're never finished with planning so in actuality, there is no reason not to start. As you go through the process and it just becomes a part of your business life, all those factors involved eventually get dealt with and each one that gets dealt with only makes your plan stronger, better. .

So to re-cap, the first steps to take in planning is to:

  • Set your goal. Where are you going and what will you have when you get there. (This is the hardest one. Once this is done, everything gets much easier and remember, I've got a little trick to help you with this. Just keep reading)
  • Create your company's nmission statement, or purpose. This determines what it is your company does. It identifies the markets you serve, the products and services it offers, the geographic area it serves and the value of your products and/or services it provides to your customers.
  • Create a set of company policies. This is like a code of conduct or a statement of ethics. This is what determines how you deal with situations that aren't planned for. By making your policies known, it tells you, your employees, your suppliers and your customers what actions can be taken to address specific problems. It establishes the guidelines for how your company acts at any given time.
  • Define your situation This is how you establish and identify the general obstacles that need to be overcome to accomplish your goals.
  • Create your strategic plan. This is simply a broad, general overview of how you are going to structure the procedures to accomplish your goals.

Once you get this far, you are well on your way of having a much brighter future! Keep in mind that if you would like to see and discuss some examples of this stuff in real life, jsut go to the forums and see the one that I have done for SearchKing. http://forums.searchking.com/ubbcgi/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=forum&f=2.

So, some of the things that can do the most to improve your plan and make it even more effective is to ask yourself some hard questions and answer them honestly and to the best of your ability. Information is power and the more information you can put into your plan, the more powerful it is going to be. .

  • 1. In regards to business planning, some of the information you are going to want are things like:
  • 2. who is my competition
  • 3. what are they doing right
  • 4. what are they doing wrong
  • 5 what is happening within my industry
  • 6.what is going to be available soon
  • 7. is it changing or stable
  • 9. how much maney am I going to need
  • 10. where do I get it
  • 11. how do I spend it
  • 12. where is my market
  • 13. how big is it
  • 14. is going to be bigger or smaller if so, when
And then there is what we're going to discuss today Giving my customers what they want.

The more time, people and money you have to put into this the better, BUT, you don't have to have more than a few minutes, more than just you and no money at all in order to get the inforamation you need to make your planning more effective. The very least you could do is much more than doing nothing. .

Remember, the trick to this is in being able to ask your self questions and then be able to answer them honestly and to the best of your ability. .

Here is a short list of what you want to know. .

Who your customers are.

There are good customers and bad ones. The good customers are the ones that buy from you, pay their bills on time, speak well of you to others. This is your life blood and you need to know what they want and then give it to them to keep them being good customers. ever heard of the 80/20 rule? I hadn't until I read Business planning for dummies. Statistically, most businesses generate 80% of their income from only 20% of the customers. This should give you an idea of just how important that 20% is.

  • 1. Learn where they live. Break them down by country, region, state, city and even neighborhood.
  • 2. Learn their ages, gender, occupation, income level, group associations, even nationality.
  • 3. Learn WHY they buy.
  • 4. Figure out what their needs and desires are. Needs fullfillment is at the heart of all consumer behavior.
  • 5. Some examples of these are:

The need for survival. This is why there is a market for homes and apartments, utility companies, grocery stores, tailors and cleaners and so forth. .

The need to feel safe and secure. this creates a market for alarm companies, banks and insurance companies. .

The desire for belonging and acceptance. This creates members-only clubs, private golf courses, health clubs, etc. .

The desire to feel recognized. This is why there are expensive sports cars, trophy companies, designer clothes. .

The desire for self improvement and achievement. This is why there are adult education classes, correspondence courses, and book stores. .

Answering these questions allows you to determine customers motives. Motives aren't always what they would appear on the surface to be. For example, greeting cards companies done't get those exorbitant prices for cute jingles on glossy paper. What they are actually selling is an insurance policy against their customer's feeling guilty. Had this motivation not been discovered there would very likely be few profitable greeting card companies. Another example is beauty shops. What do you think they are selling? Hairdos? They are actually fulfilling that desire in humans to be attractive and accepted by society in general. If that were not true, there would only be one kind of hair cut and that of course would be the cheapest one. Yikes! .

Knowing what motivates your customers can have a huge impact on your bottom line. .

Learn HOW your customers make their choices. Remember that customers make buying decisions based on their perceptions of the world, not yours. What is real to them is the only reality that matters. Understanding how customers make choices, you have a much better chance of getting thier business. The point here is just that the more you know about what your customers really want, the better you will be able to provide that. .

There is a 5 step process that we all go through when making a purchasing decision. Here is a chart to give you an idea of what those 5 steps are and what you can do about it. .

  • 1. Steps Description of consumer
  • 2. Your task awareness aware of a product but lacking detailed develop a strategy that educates
  • 3. knowledge and excites potential
  • 4. customers interest Curious and seeking more info
  • 5. provide more detailed info and
  • 6. continue to build momentum
  • 7. evaluation deciding to test the product
  • 8. make the product evaluation
  • 9. process as easy and
  • 10. rewarding as possible
  • 11. trial Uses the product on a test
  • 12. basis make the trial as simple and
  • 13. risk free as possible
  • 14. adoption decides to become a regular user
  • 15. develop strategies to provide
  • 16. more products and to
  • 17. retain good customers
.

Business-to-business planning is a little different. It inviolves many of the same aspects, but you need to remember that this is a second-hand demand. In other words, if your customers are primarily other busiensses, they are only going to be interested in you only as far as how it affects their customers. .

Now, that doesn't sound too hard does it? Well, I think that is enough for this week. If you have any questions about this stuff or would just like to fulfill your desire to be recognized, post your comments in the forums and we'll all talk about them.
 .

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All right, time for that little trick to help you write down your goal. Got your paper and pencil handy? .

I'm going to ask you a question and then say NOW. When you next see the word NOW, write down the first thing that comes to your mind. Ready? .

What do you want from your business? NOW.

Whatever you wrote down, whether it was to become rich, quit your job, help somone else or to just show your dead step father that he was wrong, that is very likely it. That is probably what you really want from your business. Now there is no committment to be made, no big decisions, no soul searching to be done. The hard part is over. Now simply refine what you wrote to fit into what you consider a suitable business form and then move on to the next step. .

Do you feel like a great weight has been lifted from your shoulders? I know I did. Luckily I had someone who pulled that little trick on me. Even though I had been using that technique for years on others, it worked like a charm for me. What I wrote down was very close to what I really wanted. I had been over- thinking it way too much and that simple little process solved mty problem. I hope it did the same for you. .

Next week we'll go over some stuff about how to identify market segments and coming up with ways to group customers and then move on to identifying your competition and what to do with what you learn about them. .

Happy planning !
-----------------------------------------------------------------
Have a great week!

See ya' next week.

Publisher -- Bob Massa 
bobking@searchking.com
Powered by SearchKing!

November 27, 2001

From: Robert Massa

Sent: Thursday, November 27, 2001 1:01 PM 

Subject: Portal Partner Press 11-27-01

The Portal Partner Press is sent each week for the education and entertainment of the people who own and operate a SearchKing hosted portal. It is intended to help you learn to better operate, maintain and market your own portal. Anytime you have a question about any item in an issue of the PPP, please visit our forums at http://forums.searchking.com and feel free to ask any questions or post any comments about your portal, about SearchKing or about internet marketing in general. .


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Portal Partner Press
 November 27th, 2001
IN THIS ISSUE:
  • How To Identify Your Market Segments
  • Getting Into ODP
  • The Trouble With Trackers

HOW TO IDENTIFY MARKET SEGMENTS

Dividing your customer base into groups can be as complex and as in-depth as you care to make it, and the more complex and in-depth it is, the better you will be able to profit from your planning. However, for the majority of us running portals, we have limited resources and there is really not much to be gained in spending all our time and money figuring out percentages of our customers based on age, gender, income, education, hobbies, location, religious affiliation, and on and on. The importance to us as small, independent portal owners, is to identify the two or three most important segments and then say what that group wants to hear. .

The more specific your target market is, the better chance you have of saying exactly what that group wants to hear. The drawback to this process for small portals is that we can define our market down so far that the numbers aren't going to be there to allow us to meet our financial goals. .

If you run a local portal and the community you're targeting has a population of let's say, 200,000, and your target market is motorcycle riding lesbians between the ages of 18 and 22 who are Baptist kite-flyers who eat fish on Fridays, then you better be charging a hell of a lot for your product or service because making a living off these of two customers is going to be a little tough. .

What we're looking for is a much broader audience that we can appeal to. Since we are all running topic specific or local portals, our best bet would be to cover the basics. What percentage of our market is male compared to female? What age group does the largest percentage of our visitors fall into? Are there any obvious characteristics that are common to our market? Things like that are going to be the things that get your community rolling. .

One thing I will point out that may make defining your market a little easier is this. Your market is very likely going to be people very much like you. They are going to be people that are already developing an affinity with your content. Why? Because YOU wrote it. .

Now the test of this little process is to ask yourself, is this accomplishing my goals? Am I moving in the direction I want to go? If not, then you are targeting the wrong market and you need to identify that market and then say what they want to hear. .

For you topic specific portal owners, I'll give you a couple of little tricks on how to define your market. You have some basic information about your visitors already. They either use or are thinking of using your product. What do people who use your product have in common? Are they mostly men or women? Do they use your product for work or leisure? Are they generally older or younger? .

The trick is to check up on industry magazines, clubs, conventions and tradeshows. What are the topics being discussed at those tradeshows and in those industry magazines? That is what that market is interested in. That is what they relate to and that is what they want to hear. .

For you local portal owners, it can be a little more challenging because there are many small groups within the large group of your town. There are still tricks. Read the editorials of the newspaper. Again, this is going to addresses concerns of a certain percentage of your market. Whatever topics are being discussed in the editorials, those are the topics of concern. Listen to the people talking in the booth behind you at the local coffee shop, beauty shop, barber shop, mechanics shop. Notice the billboards in your town. .

Pay attention to the radio ads that you've heard before. .

These are all little tricks to identifying and developing an affinity with your market. .

At the present, the war on terrorism is THE topic. This illustrates my point. Every day there is something going on that is important to a certain segment of your market to varying degrees. If your market is your hometown, find out what concerns the people in that town have and then provide them with information and a way of expressing their own feelings about that concern and you'll get traffic. Keep doing that and you'll get more traffic next month than you did this month. .

Apply this concept to sales and you start turning your community into a business.
 .

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GETTING INTO ODP

This week we are very fortunate to have a portal partner provide us with valuable information. This particular partner wears many hats, like most of do, and one of those hats presents him the opportunity to learn how ODP works. ODP is one of the few major directories left on the face of the planet that can generate significant traffic for free! .

Thanks to Eddie Eldridge for this article.

.
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Submitting to DMOZ

DMOZ, or the Open Directory is an important place to list your site because so many search engines and directories use their data. Many people have problems getting sites listed here because of some basic misunderstandings. First, DMOZ is not a search engine. It is a human powered directory. Every submission is looked at by a human. Many of the points I am going to raise here apply to Yahoo as well. Don't be over eager. If your site is not finished, especially if you have under construction notices on the site, do not submit. You are wasting your time and annoying the editors. Wait and finish your site. Once it is ready take a little time and find the correct category for your site. Be honest, don't hype, it won't help you at all. Once you have found the right category, you will find an Add URL link at the top of the page. If there is not one there, it means that this category does not accept listings, find a suitable sub category. At this point you should be aware of some of the rules. They are all up there on the FAQ pages. Only submit your main page. Double check that you have entered the address correctly. Next enter the Title of the site. It should be the title shown by your browser. It is here that you need to be careful. If your site is Bloggs & Co Ltd, that is the title you should use. ,"Bloggs & Co Ltd - The best widget makers in the universe" will not get through. The official policy of the ODP is to list relevant sites, not to help you sell your products. You can do that when a visitor gets to your site. DO NOT USE ALL CAPS . This is just rude and annoys everyone. Next comes the site description, and the most contentious part. ODP policy is to describe the site, not the business. There is a subtle difference. So, on our widget site a good description might be " Contains a technical discussion of various widgets. Also included is a guest book and a discussion board. " " Widgets, left handed widgets, everything you wanted to know about widgets" will not be allowed. Neither will " We provide the best and most comprehensive widget site on the net " Once you have this down pat enter your email address. It is important if you want any feedback. An ODP editor will review your submission to determine whether to include it in the directory. Depending on factors such as the volume of submissions to the particular category, it may take several weeks or more before your submission is reviewed. Please only submit a URL to the Open Directory once. Again, multiple submissions of the same or related sites may result in the exclusion and/or deletion of those and all affiliated sites. Disguising your submission and submitting the same URL more than once is not permitted. If a site you submitted has not been listed after three weeks, you may submit it again or you may send an e-mail to an editor of the category for which the site was submitted. Remember the editors are all volunteers and not everyone logs in every day. My advice is to email the editor first before resubmitting. Think how you feel when your directory gets the same site 4 or 5 times. There is no guarantee that your site will be listed, but proper submissions normally make it in the end. Although meta tags should be there for searching in ODP partner sites, they will be of no use at all in the ODP itself. One other rule worth remembering is do not repeat the category title in your description or title. So if you are submitting to Regional/UK/London, your description should not mention London at all. " A list of taxi drivers in the area" is OK. " A comprehensive list of London taxi drivers" is not. Best Regards Eddie Eldridge http://www.softdata.co.uk The Gloucestershire Portal http://www.soft-data.net/ Software & Internet Tel: 01452-552799 .

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THE TROUBLE WITH TRACKERS

In a sentence, the trouble with trackers is, they don't make sales. The best trackers only tell you what your customers wanted AFTER those customers left your site. As internet marketers, all we really care about is the money, the sales. Yet, we all check our trackers every day, sometimes several times a day, thinking we are checking to see how many people CAME to our site, but the fact is, what we're really checking is how many people LEFT our site. .

Trackers are a very valuable tool for any internet marketer and I personally don't know how a marketer could possibly do without one. Trackers provide information about your customers that you need to know. They can help identify trends. They can tell you what browser your visitors used. What country they came from and arguably the most important thing they can tell you is what search engine provided you what hit on what keyword term. .

Those are just some of the things a tracker CAN do, but what it cannot do is tell you any of that information until AFTER the visitor has gone from your site and if that visitor is gone we aren't selling anything to him, all we can do is try to prepare for the next visitor, assuming of course, we get one. .

Anyone that has any experience in sales knows that you don't try to find out what a customer was looking for after they left your store, you want to know what they are looking for when they ARE AT your store. Trackers can only give you information about a visitor after the fact. Why can't a tracker give you information when the visitor gets to your site so you can give them what they are looking for before they leave? Because that's not what a tracker does. .

Even if a tracker could tell you what a visitor was wanting while he was still at your site, what are you going to do? Stay up 24 hours a day watching the tracker? Even if you did that, are you going to change your website to provide different content to each different visitor. Can't be done, right? You can't change one web page every time a different visitor hits your site. .

Or can you? .

Have you ever heard the terms "Dynamic Content Management" or "keyword delivery"? Dynamic content management, as it relates to web pages at least, involves how to deliver specific content to a specific visitor asking for specific content that may be contained within a site, but not readily apparent to that visitor. Several studies have been done that indicate the average surfer will spend less than 5 seconds on a site looking for relevant information. This creates a situation where a visitor can be sent to your site by links from other sites, search engine placements, electronically delivered content such as newsletters and e-zines, affiliate links to your site, banner ads, text ads and even offline ads such as TV, radio, newspapers and magazines. When these visitors were sent to your site, they were sent there with an expectation of what they would see. Did you know that experts say the average sales to hits ratio on the internet is less than 4%? That's the good sites that are actually very specific to a targeted keyword term. What about the rest of us that have several products or services to offer? Most of us have to try to make a living off of a much lower percentage than even the dismal 4%. Is it possible that one reason for these low sales figures is the simple fact that we are not showing what the visitor is expecting to find? .

This is what dynamic content management does. It parses the referrer when a visitor comes into your site, and then delivers specific content based on that request rather than just tracking the visitor after he leaves. In other words, it knows what a visitor typed in a search box, it knows what link a visitor came from. It knows if your visitor found your site from an email link or if it came from a specific ad like an affiliate. It then allows you to automatically deliver a graphic, a sentence or an entire html page based on that information. .

Giving a customer what they want is the golden rule of sales. Knowing what the customer wants and giving it to them in the first 5 seconds on a web page is the golden rule of internet sales. Keyword delivery technology can now do just that. A tracker can't and that is the trouble with trackers. .

For more information on Dynamic Content Management, here are some sites of interest:
http://www.keyworddelivery.com
http://www.microsoft.com/cmserver/evaluation/features.htm
http://www.userland.com/stories/storyReader$110
http://java.sun.com/products/jsp/jsp_servlet.html
Bob Massa
CEO SearchKing, Inc. 
Building a Better
Web 
http://www.searchking.com>
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Have a great week!
See ya' next week.

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